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A rare peep into Eastern Catholic spirituality

HONG KONG (SE): A rare peep into the spirituality of Eastern Catholic Churches will be presented by Australian-born Father Olexander Kenez, currently working through the Eparchy of Ss. Peter and Paul, in Melbourne.

Father Kenez is in Hong Kong and is presenting a series lectures, liturgies and prayer sessions designed to give a deeper insight into the path to holiness developed in the rich traditions of Eastern Catholicism.

They reflect a spirituality built around holiness, which is concerned with remaining attentive and ready for interior transformation.

The traditions and customs are always observed with great reverence and have a strong monastic tradition of silence in prayer and mastery of human passion.

The prayer, “Lord, have mercy,” is repeated several times during liturgies and the resurrection is celebrated as the main event of the liturgical year. Rather than the common greeting of western liturgies, “Peace be with you,” eastern liturgies use the refrain, “Christ is risen.”

They also promote the human body as sacred and the sign of the cross signifies not only praise of the Trinity, but also a recognition and reminder of the body as a temple of God.

Beautiful icons, such as those depicted in the photograph of Father Kenez above, are common in eastern churches and play a big part in providing a reverent setting for the Eucharist to be celebrated.

Many of them feature Our Lady as the central figure, a liturgical recognition that she is the one who bore the saviour, Jesus Christ, and consequently deserves a central place in the Church and her liturgical life.

Churches feature a wide range of icons to promote the visual aspect of prayer and incense is frequently used to add a touch of reverence to the interior of the building.

Several icons will be displayed in the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception during the visit of Father Kenez in the evening of on October 8 and people are invited to come and pray amidst the sacred atmosphere they create.

They are also a lifeline to the past—a way of keeping tradition alive in Eastern Rite celebrations.

The eight icons to be displayed are the work of Hong Kong-born artist, Lino Wang Wing-kuen, who has dedicated much of his life to studying and painting the sacred images.

Details of Father Kenez’ visit were published in the Sunday Examiner on August 28 and are available at www.catholic-dlc.org.hk.

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